New Opportunities For State Student Loan Repayment Funding

October 26, 2015

Date:               October 26, 2015

To:                   CEOs, Chief Medial Officers, Government Affairs Staff
Please forward to clinic directors and managers

From:                Chelene Whiteaker, Policy Director, MHA

Staff Contact: Chelene Whiteaker, Policy Director, or 206-216-2545

Subject:          New Opportunities for State Student Loan Repayment Funding

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform you of an opportunity for mental health, pharmacists, and primary care providers to be eligible for student loan repayment funds through the newly re-instituted state loan repayment program, the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program (HPLRP).

This new program is offered in addition to the continuing federal National Health Service Corps, and the Federal-State Loan Repayment Program (FSLRP). WSHA supported the funding for state-based loan repayment funds in the 2015-2017 legislative session. We were pleased the program received $8.2 million for distribution over these two years.

For hospitals and health systems, eligible sites for HPLRP include:

  • Primary care clinics
  • Rural health clinics
  • Other health facilities – see criteria
  • Community mental health centers
  • Community outpatient facilities
  • Free clinics
  • Critical access hospitals
  • Sites located more than 30 miles from another primary care facility
  • Private practices (solo or group practices with a minimum of 40% Medicaid/Medicare payer mix)

Note: Unlike the other student loan repayment programs, the HPLRP does not require a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA) designation to be eligible.

Important Resources
Click here to learn more about the program, including a complete list of eligible sites and eligibility. Please consult the site reference guide for more detailed information:

Determine if your clinic or hospital is eligible to participate as a site. Complete a site application by the deadline of December 11, 2015. An approved site and provider application will be scored together to determine rankings.

WSHA strongly encourages eligible hospital and health system sites to apply. The state program, administered by the Washington Student Achievement Council in coordination with the state Department of Health, has more flexibility and funding than the federally administered National Health Service Corps.

When recruiting or retaining a provider through student loan repayment dollars, sites are unable to promise loan repayment acceptance. Site may consider including in its contract with a provider that the provider must apply for student loan repayment funds at the next available opportunity.

Overview of the Program
Current HPLRP funding is $4,685,000 per year.  Provider loan repayment can be up to $75,000 for a three-year contract, not to exceed a provider’s individual loan debt.

Approval of an individual provider’s loan repayment is based upon the both the site and application score which include: geographic location (zip code data); ratio of underserved patients versus non-underserved; staffing need criteria; and the use of a sliding fee schedule (optional but points are given if used). Hospital and clinics should describe if they provide charity care to patients.

HPLRP Eligible Professionals Include:

  • Physician (MD/DO) (family medicine, women’s health, general internal medicine, geriatrics, general pediatrics, and general psychiatry)
  • Naturopathic Physician
  • Physician Assistant*
  • Nurse Practitioner*
  • Registered Nurse (includes mental health)
  • Licensed Practical Nurse
  • Certified Nurse Midwife
  • Licensed Midwife
  • Pharmacist: Must work as a general staff pharmacist, filling and dispensing prescriptions.
  • Dentist

*Indicates adult, family, pediatric, psychiatry, mental health, geriatrics, and women’s health specialties.

Provider Participants Criteria:

  • Be employed or have a contract to begin employment (seeing patients) at an eligible site no later than July 1, 2016.
  • Submit the required Quarterly Service Verification Form and supporting payment history to show funds are being applied to eligible loans.
  • Awardees under HPLRP agree to serve for a minimum of three years.
  • Once a site is eligible to participate, providers must apply between January and March 2016.

Site Eligibility:
The site application must be approved prior to the provider being eligible to apply. Other criteria include:

  • Sites will need a separate applications for medical, mental health, and pharmacy provider types even if providers are located in the same building.  Sites may apply for any or all of these during one application period.
  • Sites must reapply each year to be listed on the eligible site list.
  • New site applicants must first register and then contact the program to have their site added (contact number:  360-753-7794).
  • If the organization has multiple locations, each individual site (physical location) must submit a separate application.
  • Dental, medical, mental health and pharmacy (new this year) site applications must be submitted separately.
  • Both the site application and provider application are competitive processes. Not all who apply will be approved or awarded.

Questions of the Program
Once you submit the application, you will not be able to make changes. You can contact Chris Wilkins, Program Manager at the Washington Student Achievement Council at or call 360-753-7794 for questions.

Next Steps
If your clinic or hospital is accepted as an eligible site, providers must apply between March and May 2016.


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Seattle, WA 98104

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